openSUSE has been going through troubled waters. Being an openSUSE user myself, I have often been affected by the inconsistent infrastructure. In the past two-three months openSUSE servers have been facing one or the other problem. The last thing I would want is to not able to update, install of maintain my production machine. So, this inconsistency was bothering me. The good thing is openSUSE teams are not only aware of this problem, but also have started to find a permanent fix for it.
Unlike derivatives which don't have to develop anything from scratch as they get all of their code ready-made from projects like Debian, distros like Fedora, which are 'creating' the technologies used by the rest of the GNU/Linux world, have to build everything from scratch. openSUSE also falls in the same category. So, they don't get their stuff ready-made by someone else. This fact makes it hard for openSUSE to push two releases a year. So, one possibility to deal with the problem is longer release cycles so there is more time for developers to fix things.
But the challenge of a long cycle is that most of the packages will be old and as a Linux user I would very much want to use the latest packages, which not only fix many bugs but also add a lot of new features. I don't want to be stuck with Gnome 3.2 when 3.6 is about to hit, so, a long time release will make it less appealing for average desktop users.
What about a rolling release? If you are not looking for generating press interest every six months, rolling release makes a perfect sense. Here you will always be running the latest version of applications. However there are challenges with rolling release distribution. One area could be support for non-free hardware such as GPUs.
Why have one when you can have both? openSUSE's Tumbleweed is rolling release which is being maintained by none other than Greg KH, the star Linux kernel developer. However, there are, as I said earlier challenges for Tumbleweed or any other rolling release as well. But none that can't be tackled.
So, I would like to invite you to this great debate: what path should openSUSE take. Share your thoughts in the comments below.